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Say goodbye to package rage

By on December 10, 2007

I’m sick of it! Yes. I’m completely sick and tired of manufacturers overpackaging toys. It seems everywhere I look, there’s a child or parent struggling to open a toy. It’s become dangerous. You’ve been there, or maybe you’ve heard me screaming for the toolbox to get my daughter’s doll out of the packaging. This was not a simple cut-with-scissors process. Oh no! This required a screwdriver and wire cutters, and I even broke a sweat. It took me more than 10 minutes to open! Heck. The doll’s hair was stitched to plastic and cardboard. Maybe they need to include labels on the boxes that state “some unassembly required” — or maybe they just need to lighten up.

When I finally got the toy opened, I was surrounded by packaging. It’s even worse on special occasions, when a few toys from friends and relatives produce enough waste to cover my living-room floor. Surely I’m not alone in my thoughts.

Few things really set me off, but this is one of them. I don’t want to “deprive” my children, but who needs all this junk? I’m bombarded with goodie bags at every kiddie party, everything is being sold in collections and I’ve simply had enough. I’m not buying any more of these junk toys in their overpackaged containers.

Thankfully, I’ve discovered the following options to combat my package rage.

TOY-LENDING LIBRARIES: Toy libraries offer quality play materials to families with young children. They’re more fun than the toy store because not only do you not get sticker shock, there’s no packaging. Your children can play with toys before borrowing them. This can help parents research toys prior to purchasing them, and decrease the likelihood of purchasing yet another toy that gets tossed aside. While some toy libraries are free to the public, others charge a membership fee, but it’s well worth it. They provide a valuable service in a community and have a knowledgeable staff that can assist you in choosing age- and stage-appropriate toys.

TOY SWAPS: Eco-frugal parents are beginning to swap toys. If you have computer access, visit and If there’s nothing in your area, start your own toy swap in your community or with friends and family.

PRE-CYCLE AND REUSABLE GIFT WRAP: Ask yourself what the toy and packaging is made from and whether it’s recyclable, and look for minimal packaging. Try wrapping your gifts with a gift. Use a reusable container, such as a basket or drawstring fabric bag.

GIVE ITEMS A SECOND LIFE: Purchasing secondhand toys is ecofriendly and frugal.

EXPRESS YOURSELF: Mail manufacturers and tell them exactly how you feel about their packaging.

GIVE FROM THE HEART: Give the gift of time or homemade items.

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